NHS grad garners Naval Academy appointmentThe Northwestern High School class of 2013 graduates tonight, moving to the next stage in their lives. One senior’s path will take him to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The Northwestern High School class of 2013 graduates tonight, moving to the next stage in their lives. One senior’s path will take him to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
An appointment to the academy is no easy feat. Fewer than 10 percent of the nearly 20,000 students who apply each year are appointed, according to statistics on the school’s website. But Nathan Markon, say those who know him, is no average teen.
“Nathan Markon is one of the most responsible kids I’ve ever met,” said Philip McGrath, coach of the Northwestern High School cross country team.
Coaches and teachers alike peg Markon as a natural leader.
“He was compassionate and encouraging with our very young team,” said wrestling coach Bob Coleman. Nathan modeled many of the team’s marks of excellence — goodness, kindness, perseverance, faithfulness, love, gentleness, peace, self-control and joy.
“I truly value his opinion because he’s intelligent, mature and has good common sense well beyond his years,” McGrath said. “Also, his work effort is first-rate. No one works as hard as he does.”
The senior has a passion to serve.
“Words like ‘honor’ and ‘integrity’ and ‘work ethic’ really mean something to Nathan as evidenced in his character, his school work, his family life and his role in the community,” said Pat Luostari, English teacher and Octagon adviser at the high school. It may sound corny, she said, but “that is who he is and probably explains why he was able to gain an appointment to the academy.”
Since middle school, Nathan has had his eye on this goal. Like most seniors, the Maple teen wants to get out of small-town Wisconsin and see the world.
“I also want to help others,” he said. “It’s a calling I have. There’s service in my family. It’s just what I feel is right for me with all I’ve been given.”
An aunt, uncle and both of Nathan’s grandfathers were in the enlisted ranks of the U.S. Armed Forces. One uncle is a Duluth firefighter; another is a Superior police officer.
“His choice to serve is something he’s quiet about but something he feels strongly about,” said his father, Superior Deputy Chief Matt Markon.
Nathan’s mentors have included his coaches, teachers and leaders of Boy Scout Pack 212 and Troop 212 of Poplar, where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout and served as a youth leader. He was also inspired by a pair of Northwestern alumni, Zach Yepma and Taylor Truan. Two years ago, Truan earned an appointment to West Point Military Academy in New York.
“He kind of got the whole thing started for me,” Nathan said. “OK, a kid from small town Wisconsin can make it out there.”
Yepma, who graduated three years ago, joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve, then the U.S. Marines. He graduated with the Marine recon class and encouraged Nathan to make a goal and keep it in sight.
To be part of an elite unit like the Navy SEALS is Nathan’s next goal.
“In the end, if I could do something like that it would be amazing,” he said.
Along with four years of schooling, Nathan will serve five years with the Navy post-schooling. He is leaning toward studying aerospace or chemical engineering.
“I really enjoy the sciences,” he said, especially chemistry and physics, and he enjoys working with his hands.
The application process included paperwork, test scores, interviews, medical records, letters of reference and more. Nathan earned a nomination to the U.S. Naval Academy from U.S. Congressman Sean Duffy, R-Weston. Penny Schroeder with the academy was helpful through the entire application and nomination process, Markon said.
“Jennifer (Nathan’s mother) and I are very proud of him,” Matt Markon said. “We’re also a little anxious as most parents would be. Our time with him for the next four years will be very limited.”
Nathan said he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m excited to move on and get this next part of my life started,” he said, although he plans to make the most of the time at school and home before moving on.